Ten Prospects I Like Less Than You Like
Welcome to The Internet, where every piece of Fantasy baseball-related content must either a) be part of a series or b) come with a sequel.
Last week, I covered 10 prospects who I’m higher on than is most of the prospecting community. I’m therefore required by law to bring you a complimentary list of 10 players who I’m relatively low on this year.
Trolls and haters, start your engines. Here are some Fantasy prospects who aren’t as good as you think they are.
Tyler Austin, OF, NYY (TDG Rank: 44, My Rank: 71)
Austin is the perfect player to lead off my list here, as my “dislike” of him from a Fantasy point of view has less to do with his deficiencies and more to do with overhype from the prospect community. That’s a pretty common theme for the players listed below. I think Austin will be a good major league hitter, and I think he has a pretty high floor. I don’t believe he’s a star in the making though, and his best skill – getting on base – isn’t as valuable in many Fantasy leagues as it is in real life. Again, I clearly liked Austin as I ranked him No. 71, but I see a Nick Markakis-like player here, not a stud.
Bryce Brentz, OF, BOS (TDG Rank: 123, My Rank: NR)
It’s funny how sometimes you construct narratives in your head before you scout a player. When I went to Portland this summer, I was ready to see Brentz, be impressed and write about how he didn’t get enough attention behind the other Killer B’s in Boston. Instead he looked like giant poop facing Gerrit Cole, and yours truly learned a valuable scouting lesson. Brentz has too much power and too good an arm not to carve out a major league career, but I bet most of it doesn’t come as a starter. I’m disinterested in owning him in all but the deepest dynasty leagues.
Jarred Cosart, RP, HOU (TDG Rank: 94, My Rank: 119)
I’ve been low on Cosart compared to my peers in the prospecting community for many a season now, and his modest strikeout rates and BB/9 of around 4.0 in AA and AAA last year didn’t do much to move me into his camp. I understand the stuff can be electric but I don’t like his delivery, his command and control are subpar and we’ve heard whispers of a lack of mental toughness too. He makes my Top 150 list because he’s fairly close to the majors and the Astros are horrible, but I think he’s just a set-up guy in the long run. I won’t blame Houston for attempting to leave him in the rotation, but I think he’ll put up some pretty ugly numbers there.
Austin Hedges, C, SD (TDG Rank: 138, My Rank: NR)
No well-known prospect has a wider gap between his MLB and Fantasy value right now, as Hedges’ absurd defense and decent bat should make him a great major league backstop. What Fantasy owners need to understand, though, is that his offensive ceiling is basically as a guy who hits .270 with 10-12 homers, and that’s pretty boring in our corner of the world. Don’t let Hedges’ high ranking on most mainstream lists trick you into thinking he’s a future Top 10 Fantasy option. He projects as just an average hitter and he’ll play half his games in Petco. Not a winning combination.
Luis Heredia, SP, PIT (TDG Rank: 83, My Rank: 105)
I like Heredia. I think Heredia will be a good major league pitcher. He’s leaps and bounds ahead of 99 percent of 19-year-old pitchers, and there’s a good chance he reaches the majors by the time he’s 21 or 22, which often portends long-term success. But those who only look at Heredia’s age and assume he’ll blossom into an ace are ignoring the fact that he’s essentially already physically maxed out. That’s not a huge issue since he’s already good, but it also limits his projection and ultimately his upside. Potential No. 2 starter during his peak? Sure. Potential Top 10 pitcher in the league? I don’t see it.
Francisco Lindor, SS, CLE (TDG Rank: 60, My Rank: 34)
If you’ve ever put together a top prospects list, you’re probably like me in that you immediately hate a few of your rankings as soon as you click “publish.” Lindor qualifies here for me, as he falls into the Hedges camp of prospects with a wide gap between their MLB and Fantasy upsides. He’d probably make my Top 25 on a standard list, but I don’t see enough power or speed to rank him very highly for Fantasy purposes, and he’s one of the more overrated Fantasy prospects right now. He’ll be useful, but more of a Top 10 than truly elite shortstop option. Bret’s rank is better than mine.
Bruce Rondon, RP, DET (TDG Rank: NR, My Rank: 137)
Rondon throws really, really hard. You have now read a comprehensive list of things Rondon does well on a baseball diamond. He made my list solely because the Tigers seem determined to give him save opportunities this season, but on a regular MLB ranking I’m not sure he’d sniff my Top 200. Rondon’s secondary stuff is unrefined, his command and control are Grade 40 at best for me right now and he has a terrible body. He’ll kill your WHIP and quite possibly your ERA, and the handful of potential saves he’ll collect isn’t worth it. Just say no, guys.
Corey Seager, 3B, LAD (TDG Rank: 87, My Rank: 113)
I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something with Seager. Just about every projection you see from major online sources lists him as a very good third baseman capable of hitting .275 with 25 homers, and that is certainly a useful Fantasy player to roster. But considering the risk involved with him reaching those numbers and the relatively modest upside they represent, what’s the rush to push him up Fantasy rankings? If he hits well in the lower minors there will be plenty of time for dynasty leaguers to get excited, but for now I think he’s being overhyped thanks to the round he was selected in and the organization he’s playing for. Should he really be ranked ahead of the likes of Matt Davidson, who can put up similar stats soon?
Kolten Wong, 2B, STL (TDG Rank: 68, My Rank: 86)
“I am what time and circumstance have made me,” said one James Darmody of Boardwalk Empire. That sums up how I feel about Wong pretty perfectly, as I see him as a slightly above average player about to be thrust into a terrific situation. Wong should settle in as a consistent .280/.340/.400 type of player at the major league level, hitting around 8 homers and grabbing 10-15 steals per year. That makes him a decent but not outstanding Fantasy option, but when you add in the number of runs he could score in the Cards’ potent offense, he becomes a lot more appealing.
Mike Zunino, C, SEA (TDG Rank: 26, My Rank: 28)
Given their proximity to the majors and Top 10 backstop upsides, I get why Zunino and Travis d’Arnaud are being highly ranked this season. That being said they are not future impact players like Buster Posey or the Joe Mauer of old, and that’s an important distinction, especially for those in redraft leagues. Zunino is great for his stability long term but if you’re banking on him for 2013, you’re better off taking A.J. Pierzynski and betting on experience. Zunino’s ceiling is as a Brian McCann-type player, but he’s not there yet. And every time you mention Zunino and Posey in the same sentence, a kitten dies.
Honorable Mention: Cheslor Cuthbert (3B, KC), Nick Franklin (2B/SS, SEA), Sonny Gray (P, OAK), Didi Gregorius (SS, ARI), Nick Travieso (SP, CIN)
*To see the beginning my personal Top 150, click here.